The Marketer's Guide to Writing A Book


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Ninety-six percent of business authors surveyed by Wellesley Hills Group claim they realized significant positive impact on their businesses from writing a book.

Authorship is a huge advantage for brands. Writing a book may seem like an overwhelming task. But with the right insights, authoring a book is easy. This e-book is dedicated to sharing those insights with marketers working on brands of all shapes and sizes.

Published in: Business, Education

The Marketer's Guide to Writing A Book

  1. 1. Simple Shortcuts for Serious Content The Marketer’s Guide To Writing A Book Simple Shortcuts for Reaching Content Marketing’s Pinnacle Created by Mark Sherbin for Convince & Convert
  2. 2. You’re used to the blank page. You’ve maybe even grown quite fond of it. Like all strong relationships, you’ve had your ups and downs. But the two of you are together, for better or for worse.
  3. 3. There’s one line you won’t cross.
  4. 4. Whatever unstructured ideas fill your white board or word processor page, you refuse to call it the start of a book. The very thought of writing a book, in fact, makes your mind shut off and your pen go dry.
  5. 5. Marketers aren’t always writers. And when they are, they still get intimidated by large projects. Kinda like, well, professional writers. In fact, some of the strongest writers I know are scared to put line number one on the page. And some are just plain lazy.
  6. 6. There’s good news for those of you who fall into the latter category: you don’t need to make any commitment whatsoever. You barely even have to try. You’ve always had more than the chops to write a your own book—you’ve had the content.The pinnacle of content marketing is within reach.
  7. 7. How I Absorbed Book Learnin’
  8. 8. I’ve never written my own book. I have, however, written other people’s books. I don’t need to write my own to fill my immediate timecard, although I hope one day to attain the clout to sell a book.You know, when I get around to it.
  9. 9. Books Are... The top-tier of my workload as a content marketing specialist and ghostwriter The ultimate long-form piece of content The kind of collateral entrepreneurs daydream about
  10. 10. Imagine walking into a meeting and fielding a question with, “Actually, we wrote the book on that.”
  11. 11. Execs at Well-Established Brands... Execs at Small Businesses... ...get great peace of mind working with ghostwriters ...with everything to gain (and not much to spend) should consider taking matters into their own hands.
  12. 12. Let me tell you a secret. My job isn’t as hard as you think.
  13. 13. Come to think of it, writing a book around a topic you want your brand to own is like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle. It’s about sifting through ideas you’ve already expressed, throwing the rest at a wall, and seeing what sticks. Once you’ve done that, the new ideas you need to fill the gaps start to flow.
  14. 14. Your book is already written. For awhile, you’ve been blasting out content through all of your channels—from blog posts to white papers to social media snippets. The mildly tough part is turning it into a narrative. Your Title Here
  15. 15. A Few Steps to Shape the Book You Already Have
  16. 16. TIP 1: TEST IDEAS When “do” or “do not” fail, there is a “try.”
  17. 17. Without the right content, your book will fall flat before you even start to consider committing to it. What does your audience want to read about? Data, social media, and other technology have taken the guessing game out of understanding which ideas truly excite your audience. Use these tools to your advantage, all from the comfort of your computer chair.
  18. 18. Test ideas through curated content Nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter curates content to bounce book ideas off of her audience. It’s a great low cost, low effort way to test ideas you’d like to use in a book.
  19. 19. Find your top content over a given time period Identify your best blog, SlideShare, social media, and other posts. Your best stuff typically surpasses the rest in terms of page views, relevant conversations in the comments section, and social shares.
  20. 20. Pick up the phone Have a good relationship with members of your audience? Call or email and find out what’s vexing them, what excites them, and what they don’t know.
  21. 21. TIP 2: LESS IS MORE That’s it. That’s the tip.
  22. 22. Your audience just did the work of choosing a handful of book topics for you. It’s your job to mix and match those topics to find the ones that work together and discard the others. Narrowing your concept to a single topic can be tricky, but it’s absolutely necessary. Somewhere between what your audience wants and where your expertise lies is the sweet spot. Isolate that sweet spot.
  23. 23. TIP 3: RECYCLE Find “used” content for your book.
  24. 24. Next, find content to fill that sweet spot. You don’t have to do anything except skim the existing content you’ve already created and find stuff that works with your topic and audience. Save everything. You could use a great tool like Evernote to snip bits of content or entire posts and e-books. With Evernote, you can tag everything you bag to make it easier to find later. Categorizing your content now will save you a ton of work later.
  25. 25. TIP 4: OUTLINE Form a loose structure based on your topic.
  26. 26. An outline? You mean I can’t just throw the words on the page? Yes, an outline. Like the ones you used to do in high school. It’s time to start planning ahead. Just this once, at least. Creating your outline isn’t very hard. You already have all this content. All you need to do is organize it in an order and hierarchy that makes sense.
  27. 27. TIP 5: BRIDGE GAPS If it feels like something’s missing, it probably is.
  28. 28. Your existing content is an enormous start that cuts out those pesky first steps that haunt the nightmares of so many first-time authors. But it will only get you so far. You’ll notice something missing. Actually, you’ll notice lots of things missing. At this point, you just need to fill in that missing information. This is actually pretty easy if you use the existing information as cues. Once you’ve identified gaps in your narrative, update your outline to include the content that fills those gaps. Double-check to make sure you didn’t forget about a piece of content that fulfills the new points in the outline. Wherever there’s missing content, it’s time to get to work. But remember to take plenty of breaks. You wouldn’t want to wear yourself out now— you’re on a roll.
  29. 29. TIP 6: UPDATE CONTENT You’ll feel much better when you freshen up outdated content.
  30. 30. As you read through your content, you might find yourself saying, “What the hell was I thinking?” more than once. Don’t worry—this is an entirely natural response to content you created when you were a younger and less informed person. Besides your younger self’s mistakes, you’ll also notice that some of your content just isn’t up to date anymore. It’s time to revise. Updating your information may feel like a drag, but it’s an absolute necessity, especially when you’re piling boulders and pebbles of old content in hopes of creating a mountain. Get your hands a little dirty and start updating your content for people living in the now.
  31. 31. TIP 7: SPICE IT UP Trim the fat, clean everything up, and finish your book.
  32. 32. Congratulations! You have a lump of words that vaguely resembles a book. Like Michelangelo, you must now shape that lump into your masterpiece. Your first step is serious revision. Here, you’ll want to make everything look uniform. Revise to improve transitions between sections and make your tone more consistent throughout. Next, add flourishes like statistics, quotes, and other neat stuff that makes you look like you know what you’re talking about. Finally, get an editor involved. It’s always a good idea to have a fresh pair of eyes. After all, it’s better to pay someone to do the dirty work.
  33. 33. Mark Sherbin is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. You can get in touch with him in any of the following ways. Thanks for reading! Special thanks to Convince & Convert for helping me promote this ebook. @MarkSherbin Read more from Mark at the Content Marketing Institute